Good morning and happy Sunday! This has been quite an interesting week, as we’ve stayed tucked safely inside our house in an attempt to keep ourselves and the rest of the community healthy. While I don’t have too many interesting updates to report, I’m so grateful that we were still able to enjoy good food and feed our family nourishing meals. All of the highlights from the past few days, along with our easy dinners, are included in today’s roundup of Our Week in Meals. I hope that it offers a brief, welcome diversion from some of the more unsettling current events. Praying for your safety, comfort and health in the days ahead!❤️
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For those of you who are new to the blog, Our Week in Meals is where I share a little bit about what we’ve been up to over the past week — as it relates to our dinners each night. This series gives you a glimpse “behind the scenes” at some highlights from our life, shows you how I balance a busy schedule with feeding my family, and offers a few new ideas for your own weekly meal plan. Now let’s back up to last weekend…
Sunday was cool and gray, but that didn’t stop us from getting outside. Keith is glad to have all of this manual labor available at the moment, so he kept the boys busy with plenty of work around the property!
We also took the dog for a couple of walks, since staying cooped up inside is not an option for my energetic crew — even if the weather isn’t ideal.
The neighbors’ sweet horses always come over to say “hi” to Teddy!
We had steaks in the freezer from our last ButcherBox order, so I decided that our favorite Guinness Marinade was in order. It was St. Patty’s Day week, after all! Keith grilled the steaks, which we served alongside Grilled Potatoes and my Creamy Italian Pasta Salad. I also set out some carrots and cucumbers with dip on the side for extra veggies. Meat and potatoes = Keith’s comfort food…so he was a happy man!
Since Virginia’s schools are closed for the time being, “Mom’s Home School” was in session on Monday morning!😂 In reality, this just involves about an hour of plugging away at the work that the boys’ teachers sent home. Of course, my home school also involves snack time — and lots of recess!
We joined Spencer’s kindergarten teacher for “story time” on her Facebook page, as well. Each morning she reads to the children and then gives them a short assignment. The book of the day was one of Spencer’s favorites: The Good Egg. It just never ceases to amaze me how thoughtful and kind these women are. Teachers are truly some of the best humans.❤️
That afternoon we baked another batch of the most perfect soft and chewy Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies for snack. These have been on repeat in our house (keeping that cookie jar full!), so I will be sharing the easy recipe in the next couple of days. It’s a great way to entertain the kids with a simple baking project when you’re stuck at home!
For dinner that night, I made us a big pot of Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo. I was craving something cozy and comforting, and these ingredients were among the few available in our grocery store (or in my fridge) when I did our shopping the weekend before. This soup just has a subtle lemon touch that makes it taste bright and fresh — but it’s definitely not overpowering. Paired with a French baguette for the perfect immunity-boosting meal!
Tuesday was St. Patrick’s Day, so we started the morning with minty green Shamrock Shakes!
I tested some recipes in the kitchen while the boys played for the morning, we got our school work done, and then we headed outside for “P.E. Class” on the basketball court — kids’ request!
When the sun came out that afternoon, we headed down to the pond, where we had a “sink or float” science lesson. Casey crafted a raft out of sticks (which floated), while the other boys took turns throwing items into the water (rocks, bones, sticks, pinecones) to find out which would stay on top.
Hay bale jumping…
For our Irish-inspired dinner that night, I made a pot of Sausage and Cabbage, which I served with Irish Soda Bread and Watergate Salad (because it’s green!). A few of my personal favorites (the boys of the house weren’t big on the cabbage, though)…
After a morning walk, soccer in the yard, and school work on Wednesday, we took a break to make flatbread pizzas for lunch. These are a big hit in our house (since everyone can customize their own pizza toppings) and the pizzas only take a few minutes to put together. Bake in a 425 degree F oven for about 10 minutes! This is an easy weeknight dinner, too…
While the boys took a few minutes for “silent reading” that afternoon, I was able to finish my latest book, too! A Rule Against Murder is the fourth mystery in Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache series, and it was one of my favorites so far. I just love a story that keeps me guessing up until the very end, and this was one novel that I couldn’t “figure out.” So entertaining!
Dinner that night was a quick Beef and Asparagus Stir Fry, which we served with rice and egg rolls on the side. Delicious!
After a very foggy start, we were fortunate that Thursday turned out to be a warm, sunny day.
We took care of school work in the morning, and then enjoyed the weather by playing dodgeball (with this new set of balls that I bought at the boys’ request). Desperate measures over here…
The kids and I also went for a short hike…
…followed by ice cream cones for snack from the walk-up window at the Tastee Freez.
For dinner I made Root Beer Barbecue Chicken in the slow cooker (there’s also an Instant Pot version in that recipe), which I served with coleslaw, a green salad and tater tots.
When I was at the grocery store last week, the only carrots available were in 5-lb. bags. Takes me back to my days of buying bulk carrots to feed to my horse! Anyway, since I don’t have a horse at the moment, I used some of the extra carrots in a Carrot Raisin Pineapple Salad to have with dinner that night as well. Love this classic dish!
After they got their school work done on Friday morning, the boys each made their own batch of slime. I bought the supplies on Amazon, which included different colors of glitter glue, as well as a bottle of the slime “activator.” I won’t link to the particular brand, because it turned out to be way stickier and messier than other slimes that we’ve played with in the past (I’m NOT recommending it!). While it was really fun at first, I spent a lot of time cleaning up the kids, their clothes, and the dishes…so we’ll not be using that again!😀
I took the dog for a walk up the road later in the afternoon while Keith and the boys played a round of dodgeball. The 80-degree weather felt like heaven!
Dinner that night was Taco Pizza! I let everyone garnish their own slices, so the kids were happy with just the beans, meat and cheese, while Keith and I added plenty of extra toppings. We served the pizza with chips, salsa, guacamole and corn.
Keith went out to pick up some food for us on Saturday morning and came home with a box of the best warm, homemade donuts from the donut truck that parks at Yoder’s. Blueberry, cinnamon sugar and chocolate frosted!
And since the grocery store ran out of butter, he brought home a couple of tubs of homemade butter from Yoder’s as well! Thank goodness for that little store (necessities)!😀
We went on a short hike that afternoon on the Graves Mill Trail in Shenandoah National Park here in Madison, before returning home for a round of Monopoly and dinner prep.
Keith wanted to smoke a turkey breast on the grill that evening, so we served the turkey with Crispy Seasoned Oven Roasted Potatoes, steamed broccoli, and the leftover carrot salad from earlier in the week. Mine was on top of a bed of spinach (with honey mustard dressing) because I was also trying to finish off the greens before they went bad. I found the turkey in the freezer section at our grocery store the weekend before when I was faced with an otherwise very empty meat case. We made it work, and it was delicious!
That’s where I’ll leave it for this week, friends. In such a scary, uncertain time, I know that many of us are feeling isolated, fearful and anxious. My thoughts and prayers are with you, as we all navigate this overwhelming period together. I’m trying my best to take it one day at a time, to do what I can do to stay safe and to help others. I’m choosing to focus on the positive — such as dinners with my family and extra time with my boys — even when that feels exhausting and stressful. Thank you for joining me here each Sunday. I hope that you find peace and comfort in the week ahead.❤️